Upbeat, downcast: Allan knows both sides of country

  • By Andy Rathbun Herald Writer
  • Friday, July 3, 2009 6:56pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Gary Allan might have fooled some country fans back in 1996.

The star’s first big hit, “Her Man,” is a happy ballad about a wild-catter SOB who finds love and decides to settle down.

Allan’s songbook, however, is now mostly filled with sad songs about lost love, a subject that the rough-voiced singer knows all too well.

Fans can hear some of those hits — along with the occasional upbeat track — when Allan hits the Tulalip Ampitheatre on Thursday to launch the venue’s summer concert series.

Allan, a California-born singer, started playing the honky-tonk circuit at age 12 and was still polishing his act 15 years later. Then Allan released “Her Man,” and went on to claim three No. 1 country singles by 2004.

That same year, tragedy struck. Allan’s wife, who had been suffering from depression, committed suicide. The singer considered putting his career on hold before realizing music helped him cope with the loss.

The resulting album, 2005’s “Tough All Over,” was one of Allan’s bigger successes, debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and featuring the hit “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful.”

Now four years later, Allan, 42, still sings about broken-hearted men. His newest single, “Today,” finds one of his typically stoic characters attending the wedding of an old lover and realizing she’s happier without him.

That track will be released as a single on Tuesday through Web sites including Amazon.com.

Of course, fans who attend Allan’s Thursday concert won’t hear only tales of woe.

One of his biggest hits remains “Nothing On but the Radio,” a love song about a couple with, well, nothing on but the radio, if you get the drift.

Gary Allan

7 p.m. Thursday, Tulalip Amphitheatre, 10400 Quil Ceda Blvd., Tulalip; $40 to $60; ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000.

Tulalip Amphitheatre Summer Concerts

Jonny Lang, July 16

Spike &the Impalers, July 24

The Beach Boys, Aug. 9

Melissa Etheridge, Aug. 17

Al Green, Aug. 27

The Doobie Brothers, Sept. 2

Visit ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000 for more information.

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